My new job is terrific. There is something to be said for going to work happy every day. I still experience little frustrations but on the whole, I feel content and happy and I come home the same way. I have another part-time job to as a Learning Technologist which is also great (not as good as my other job but pretty good). It does mean that I have a whole new schedule to live up to. The pace of learning is much greater in my new role which means that I am constantly having to learn new things to keep up with new media. I’m often on Instagram – so quick to post a photo but I do miss my blog and enjoy writing for it. Now I’m writing for a living, too, I have such a lot of pleasure in my week! It does mean that I’m very busy! So I took some time out this weekend and did some insta-gardening – I headed to a garden centre and bought lots of lovely plants already in flower and tidied up my front door area. I’ve already been complimented by my neighbour 🙂

My little kitten love keeps me on my toes. She is naughty, funny, loving, special. Tonight she clamped her jaws round my chicken baguette and tried to make off with it. She then stole the chicken breast I cooked for lunch tomorrow and she and Claude were eating it. It was churlish to scold them so they got a chicken dinner.

Please say hi. I’ve been missing you – I’m going to try a little to keep up with blogs. My next big work project is to do Google Analytics and Hootsuite online training which takes up a chunk of my evenings but I will keep trying to read and comment when I can. I’ve been working there almost 6 months and have loved every moment. I love the creativity and the projects. I read ‘What Colour is your parachute?‘ and this was one of the jobs that matched me. It makes me feel so good that I followed my dream.

Garden Tidy

Two very kind friends came this afternoon and helped me with my horribly overgrown garden which I was truly embarassed by. Sirius was very pleased to show them out and tell them what was needed.

This whole bed was covered in 4 foot high weeds before we set to work on it. It looks a thousand times better now. Libby reconfigured the water feature so it looks a lot prettier than it did and cleared all the slime out of it so it runs nicely and was able to answer my question about where the water all comes from. (An important thing to know when you are on a water meter)

I had a motley collection of plants which they put in for me and it looks great. Together with lots of clear of weedy bits from the pots, it looks terrific. I have the bottom end of the garden and the front garden to do still but a couple of hours has really made quite a difference.

Sirius is telling us that I should get out there and fix up this bed, too.

This is the feline equivalent of foot tapping.

Sadly, I feel unable to do any more today as my muscles ache somewhat so I’m going to admire the pretty aquilegia I picked up at my spinning group last month as it has really taken off and become extremely pretty.

The Undergardener and His Apprentice

I do feel like I am my cats’ entertainment director and one of Sirius’ favourite activities is gardening.

He does enjoy being involved.

Especially with the dirt. What is it with dirt and boys?

Watering is fun, too.

Tamyra likes water. Tamyra likes water a lot.

So not one but two kitty helpers.


Hmm – I think they are plotting.

She is definitely plotting.

Sirius decided that it was very important to stand guard over the tomato seeds to make sure they grow. How long do you give that propagator before it is distributed around the house?

Training the new undergardener

I’m late in getting my gardening started this year but I was fortunate enough to have a proper gardener come and do some of the digging last year so all I had to do was planting. I have onion sets down the left, then carrots and beetroot in the other sections.

I decide it was only fair that I let my devoted under gardener outside to inspect progress. He isn’t normally allowed out but sometimes does come out under supervision. He seemed to approve.

Despite the frost on the ground …



I have started thinking about what I’m going to grow this year. Never grown mushrooms before as pao doesn’t like them. I am stupidly excited about growing mushrooms as it looks cool. I only paid a measly pound each for each of the kits (around $1.50). What a bargain 🙂

The cats were very interested in the mushrooms in particular.


Even Phoebe. Any ideas why? It does seem rather strange.

Vegging out

I’ve been very quiet on the gardening front this year.

Almost all my plantings apart from the carrots were from other people’s plants.

I did try starting off some seed but it all went a bit awry so I had to give up and get some ready started plants. But I didn’t do too badly, did I? It is a small but perfectly formed harvest.

Besides, Tamyra is now getting the idea of vegging out. She’s not big on lap sitting so lying on my leg is as near as we get.

All is green in my garden

I haven’t mentioned my garden this year as it has been a bit of a sore point. I killed some tomato plants and others through neglect – my excuse was that it was too hot in April when it is normally cold and I did forget to water them.

I was also feeling churlish as I’d grown a lot of tomatoes last year with dreams of lovely pasta sauces in mind and was rather disappointed to lose the whole lot because of tomato blight.

But such is the way with gardening. You win some and you lose some and I have just plucked a fresh tomato (my second go) and it is hands-down better than shop bought.

Buoyed by last year’s success, I’ve even tried my hand at peas again and the slugs seem to have ignored them mostly. I’d already had a go at raising some in the greenhouse earlier but they went mouldly and sprouted horrible fungi so in the bin they went. Luckily, this lot seem to be much happier.

This is an unusual success for me. A couple of pumpkin plants which have grown behind tiny. Usually I get slug munching and the poor things are dead before I know it.

Even my roses look even more gorgeous this year.

This climbing rose flowered a second time!

I have to laugh at the kitties though. Sirius is often straight out trying to help when he’s supposed to stay in. Tamyra likes the idea of going on but thankfully she knows which side of the door she belongs on.

Fancy Fourth of July Feet

Happy 4th of July! Hope you are having a wonderful day in the US!

I am always in a celebratory mood when we get to the Fourth of July as it is only two days to my birthday and three to our wedding anniversary so a great great week. Also, my friend J from school’s birthday is on July 2 so we always loved July 4th because it falls directly in between 🙂 I celebrated today by going for a luxury pedicure after a nice lunch out with pao. A very good thing after the weeks we’ve had this year! As always pao managed marvellously when he got the text requesting some flip flops 🙂 The ladies in the salon were impressed with his choice and I was amazed as he had no idea which polish I’d chosen.

I was also very happy to see my birthday rose from a few years back in full bloom and what gorgeous blooms they are 🙂

I also finished off a fun project a friend had started years ago and gave me as she hadn’t felt like picking it up – here is Tamyra with the leftovers. I’ll post photos of it tomorrow as it is already late and I ought to get to bed!

Have a wonderful 4th of July!! Sing a few Star Spangled Banners for me 🙂

Autumn’s final harvests

A handful of chestnuts gathered on an autumn walk…

a last bunch of sweet carrots gathered in the garden..

It is the time to tidy away the old and start to get set in for the winter and new growth in the spring. New ways of doing and seeing. A new season.

Even Sirius has found himself a new place to curl up – squeezing himself small and scooting under the bookcase.

Gardening recap

Carrie K commented that I’d gone a bit AWOL lately – sorry I’m not really myself at the moment but I have managed to find some lovelies to show you…

I’ve had a mixed summer so far with veg crops. Here is some of what I harvested in August. I grew some really nice heritage French beans and got quite a healthy crop from my eight plants – nice crisp beans. I usually plant the purple ones but didn’t have any seed this year. I liked this variety and have allowed some to go to seed so I can plant them again next year.

I did manage to grow the best carrot so far – finger straight thick carrotty and very tasty.

I even had some success with courgettes. I’d bought the plants from the village egg lady and they grew like crazy. I think the eggshells I’d put down to deter slugs and snails did help somewhat.

Little did I know that these were some of the handful of tomatoes I would harvest. I found that my plants had tomato blight so had to be thrown out – fruit and all.

These peas are what I’m proudest of though. I had about ten plants which I’d started in toilet roll inner tubes and paper pots indoors and left to get quite sturdy before I planted outside with guardian egg shells. I did have a couple eaten but the pots seemed to help as I grew peas! I’ve always had problems with slugs so finally I have succeeded!!

It was sad not to have my garden supervisor any more but Tamyra is a good vegetable model and Sirius has done his best to help. She is almost the same size as this marrow I was given. Now as soon as the torrential rain that has plagued Southern England lets up and I’m not feeling so blah, I’ll be pulling up the grotty stuff ready to bed it all down for winter.